FRAUD PREVENTION TIPS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC
As virus relief plans are still being worked out by Congress, scammers are not waiting to act, but are attempting to take advantage of the situation and consumers. Simmons Bank is committed to protecting and educating consumers. In an effort to get ahead of the situation, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a consumer protection agency, has released information related to potential coronavirus (COVID-19) scams. The following tips from the FTC are a great way to help protect yourself against fraud:
- Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
- Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources. Learn what the U.S. government is doing and find additional resources at the federal, state and local government levels.
- Know who you are buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they do not.
- Do not respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
- Do not click on links from sources you do not know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — online or in stores.
- The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products who have claimed that they can treat or prevent the coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils and colloidal silver.
- The FTC says the companies have no evidence to back up their claims — as required by law. The FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent the virus. Read more about the warning letters.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, do not do it.
Simmons Bank encourages consumers to learn as much as possible about emerging scams related to the Coronavirus Pandemic. If you suspect you have been the victim of a scam and your bank account or identity may have been compromised please contact Simmons Bank at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-866-246-2400.